From the time it launched in 2006, Bigg Boss, an Indian version of the Dutch TV show 'Big Brother' has caught the imagination of Indian viewers. The reality television game show franchise produced by Endemol Shine has had a dream run for 12 seasons. It was first aired on Sony Entertainment TV in 2006, but second season onwards Viacom 18's Colours started broadcasting it. Ever since, it has occupied a haloed space for hooking viewers and raking in the revenue for the channel.
So what makes the show tick for viewers?
It could be the constant glare of multiple cameras which peep into the lives of captive celebrities for 100 days or the celebrity hosts of the show like Arshad Warsi, Shilpa Shetty, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and now the inimitable Salman Khan. It could also be the innovative format, adapted from Big Brother, which showcases the goings-on in the Bigg Boss house constructed especially for the purpose. The natural propensity of human beings to be curious about the lives of others especially celebrities has made the format a big hit with audiences, so much so that the show has expanded into other Indian languages like Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu and now into Marathi and Malayalam markets too.
Yet another reason for its success could be the big money involved, not just the prize money for the winners but the money the host is paid per episode. In season 12, Salman Khan takes home anywhere between Rs 12 to 14 crore per episode.
What also works is the innovation each season brings with it in the format of the show. This time the theme is 'Iss bar aa rahi hai interesting jodi' which means the reality show will feature assorted couple jodis battling it out to survive 100 days under the arc lights. But according to Abhishek Rege, CEO, Endemol Shine India, it is not the changing themes but the consistency of the show that brings viewers back each time.
Why Viacom 18's Colours loves it
Bigg Boss is a high budget show, but despite that has managed to be profitable for the channel that has showcased it for the last 11 seasons. While it struggled a bit in the initial years, what turned its fortunes around was Shilpa Shetty's participation in UK's Celebrity Big Brother where she was racially abused by fellow contestants and then went on to win the series.Viacom 18 acquired the format rights and Shilpa Shetty was brought in as the high-profile host fresh after her success. The ratings for Bigg Boss in India went through the roof and it became a hit with viewers. Colors went on to become the number 1 channel within a few weeks of its launch with Bigg Boss playing a key role in the channel's climb to the top. Star India has also benefited from the unparalleled success of the property. It has taken the format to the South Indian markets of Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
Why advertisers love it
There is no category of advertisers that has not come on Bigg Boss whether it is FMCG, smartphone brands, television brands, beverages or other consumer products. Appy Fizz is back as the presenting sponsor this time, while Oppo F9 Pro returns as the Powered By sponsor for 'Bigg Boss 12'. Speaking to Adgully, Raj Nayak, Chief Operating Officer, Viacom18 said, "It is one of our flagship shows. 'Bigg Boss' is the biggest show of our channel, both in terms of financials and being one of the longest non-fiction shows. In terms of buzz creation, I don't think there is any other event that catches the kind of mileage and popularity that 'Bigg Boss' does." It is a great vehicle for brand integrations. Advertisers get exposure for a minimum of four months.
The show has generated a buzz on the digital platforms too and has garnered a large audience base on Voot. It is also streamed through the Jio App. In a way, it has transcended platforms, regions, and audience groups. What more will the franchise achieve in the months and years to come, is anybody's guess.
Edited by Rashi Bisaria